East Lyme officials seek input on shifting last day of school

East Lyme — After factoring in multiple snow days, parents planning the safe graduation party for East Lyme High School seniors locked in June 20 as the party date.

But the school year is currently scheduled to conclude the day before, on June 19. Now, faced with a request by a parent involved with the planning for the alcohol-free party, the Board of Education and school officials are considering pushing the last school day to Friday, June 20, and holding the graduation ceremony that day. Doing so would avoid the possibility of a student getting an early start on their graduation celebration and making a poor choice that would require the school to take disciplinary action, according to Superintendent James Lombardo.

If the school district were to push the last day of school to June 20, the school board would add an extra holiday - the Friday of Memorial Day weekend - to the school calendar.

Lombardo sent out a letter Wednesday to parents asking for their feedback on the plan to hold the last day of school and graduation on June 20. Feedback is due by April 14 to "assess the impact of such a change on our overall school community."

Lombardo said Thursday the general tenor of parents' responses so far support the district taking the steps needed "to make kids safe."

The parent-sponsored, alcohol-free graduation celebration provides a safe venue for teenagers and is intended to prevent them from making poor choices that could hurt them, Lombardo said.

"It was a chance for the kids to bond, network and say goodbye," said Lombardo.

The board is expected to set the graduation date by its next meeting on April 21.

k.drelich@theday.com

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